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Interpretation of minimalist architecture according to various culture |aminaizatdesign@gmail.com

Interpretation of architecture according cultures

minimalist to various

Amin Aizat Mohamed aminaizatdesign@gmail.com

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Interpretation of minimalist architecture according to various culture |aminaizatdesign@gmail.com

ABSTRACT

Presently, where everything is done by the function, some features or style of earlier architecture is no longer relevant and appropriate. Additionally, when average user wants something dynamic, practical and durable, they will began to choose a more simple and stylish architecture in line with their lifestyle. This might be the possible reason that minimalist architecture becomes more synonyms with the current trend. The goal of this comparative analysis is to see different interpretation toward minimalism based on various cultures and preconception. Contrasting perspective towards this single word raise a question on how minimalism and culture are directly connected. This research focus on literature reviews that highlighting the meaning of minimalism and its relationship with certain culture. Further study then were carried out on case studies of several works of famous minimalist architects to get a clearer view regarding this issue. Key words: architecture, minimalism, culture, neo-modernism

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Interpretation of minimalist architecture according to various culture |aminaizatdesign@gmail.com

TABLE OF CONTENT ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ................................Error! Bookmark not defined. ABSTRACT ........................................................................................................... ii CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION ........................................................................ 1 1.1

Background ............................................................................................... 1

1.2

Problem Statement .................................................................................... 2

1.3

Aim and objectives of research ................................................................. 3

1.4

Scope of research ...................................................................................... 3

Chapter 2: LITERATURE REVIEW..................................................................... 4 2.1

Introduction ............................................................................................... 5

2.2

History of Minimalism .............................................................................. 5

2.3

Culture ....................................................................................................... 7

2.4

Western interpretation ............................................................................. 10

2.4.1 Material and Effect ............................................................................ 11 2.4.2 Super-modernism .............................................................................. 13 2.4.3 Phenomenological Architecture ........................................................ 14 2.5

Japanese interpretation ............................................................................ 16

2.5.1 Zen Philosophy (Moral Freedom) ..................................................... 17 2.5.2 Ma Concept (Emptyness) .................................................................. 18 2.5.3 Wabi-sabi (Voluntary Poverty) ......................................................... 19 2.6

Summary ................................................................................................. 20

CHAPTER 3: Methodology ............................................................................... 23

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Interpretation of minimalist architecture according to various culture |aminaizatdesign@gmail.com

3.1

Introduction ............................................................................................. 23

3.2

Data resources ......................................................................................... 23

3.2.1 Literature Review .............................................................................. 23 3.2.1 Website Articles ................................................................................ 24 3.2.1 Books and Magazines........................................................................ 24 3.2.1 Limitation .......................................................................................... 24 3.3

Research Methodology............................................................................ 25

3.3.1 Setting criteria for documents ........................................................... 25 3.3.2 Collecting documents and information ............................................. 25 3.3.3 Summarizing info .............................................................................. 26 3.3.4 Analysing the case studies................................................................. 27 3.3.5 Discussion ......................................................................................... 29 3.3.6 Conclusion......................................................................................... 29 CHAPTER 4: CASE STUDY ............................................................................ 30 4.1

Introduction ............................................................................................. 30

4.2

Case Study 1: The Thermal Vals............................................................. 31

4.2.1 General infomation ............................................................................ 31 4.2.2 Architect’s philosophy ...................................................................... 32 4.2.3 Building design ................................................................................. 34 4.2.4 Summary ........................................................................................... 43 4.3

Case Study 2: Switch House (Tate Modern Extension) .......................... 45

4.3.1 General Info....................................................................................... 45 4.3.2 Architect’s philosophy ...................................................................... 46 iv


Interpretation of minimalist architecture according to various culture |aminaizatdesign@gmail.com

4.3.3 Building design ................................................................................. 48 4.3.4 Summary ........................................................................................... 55 4.4

Case Study 3: Church of Light ................................................................ 57

4.4.1

Introduction ...................................................................................... 57

4.4.2 Architect’s philosophy ...................................................................... 58 4.4.3 Building Design................................................................................. 59 4.4.4 Summary ........................................................................................... 66 4.5

Case Study 4: Pawson House .................................................................. 68

4.5.1 Introduction ....................................................................................... 68 4.5.2

Architect’s philosophy ..................................................................... 69

4.5.3 Building Design................................................................................. 70 4.5.4 Summary ........................................................................................... 78 CHAPTER 5: FINDING AND DISCUSSION .................................................. 80 5.1

Significant element of minimalist architecture ....................................... 80

5.1.1 The Thermal Vals, Peter Zumthor..................................................... 80 5.1.2 Switch House, Herzog and De Meuron ............................................. 82 5.1.3 Church of Light, Tdao Ando ............................................................. 83 5.1.4 Pawson House, John Pawson ............................................................ 85 5.2

Architect’s interpretation on minimalism ............................................... 90

5.2.1 Concept.............................................................................................. 90 5.2.2 Form .................................................................................................. 91 5.2.3 Space ................................................................................................. 92 5.2.4 Material and detail ............................................................................. 93 v


Interpretation of minimalist architecture according to various culture |aminaizatdesign@gmail.com

CHAPTER 6: CONCLUSION ........................................................................... 95 CHAPTER 7: REFERENCES ........................................................................... 97 7.1

Articles .................................................................................................... 97

7.2

Books ....................................................................................................... 99

7.3

Websites .................................................................................................. 99

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1: Conceptual framework of this research ................................................... 4 Figure 2: Rassegna publication entitled Minimal, December 1988. ....................... 5 Figure 3: Villa Savoye designed by Le Corbusier in Poissy ................................. 7 Figure 5: Underground passage in Belgrade ......................................................... 8 Figure 4: Apartment in Japanese city...................................................................... 8 Figure 7: Sculpture done by Tony Smith, 1965 ................................................... 10 Figure 6: Sculpture done by Donald Judd, 1968 ................................................. 10 Figure 8: Herzog and de Meuron, Ricola Storage Building, Laufen, Switzerland (1986) ............................................................................................... 12 Figure 9: Herzog

and

de

Meuron,

Auf Dem Wolf Signal Box, Basel,

Switzerland (1986–1987) .................................................................................... 12 Figure 11: The Cathedral of Vilnius, Lithuania................................................... 13 Figure 10: Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral, France .......................................... 13 Figure 12: Art Museum in Bergenz, Austria (Peter Zumthor,1997). ................... 15 Figure 14: New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (Kazuyo Sejima, 2007) ..................................................................................................................... 17 Figure 13: Church of light, Osaka

(Tadao Ando, 1989) .................................. 17

Figure 15: Green roof of Noshina Hotel on Naoshima Island ............................. 18 Figure 16: The Thermal Vals, Graubunden Switzerland (1996) ......................... 31 Figure 17: Peter Zumthor ..................................................................................... 32 Figure 18: The initial idea of the design sketched by Peter Zumthor .................. 34 Figure 19: Site plan and of the Thermal Baths ................................................... 35 Figure 20: Upper floor plan ................................................................................. 36 Figure 21: Lower floor plan ................................................................................. 37 Figure 22: Sections .............................................................................................. 38 Figure 23: Sections .............................................................................................. 38 Figure 24: Blow out drawing showing the circulation of the building ................ 39 vii


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Figure 25: Each units has large outcropping roof ................................................ 40 Figure 26: The overhang concrete structure held by metal cable. These cables are invisible due to concrete enclosure to make sure the whole structure looks like a single stone unit. ................................................................................................... 40 Figure 27: Gap between each unit visible on the green roof. .............................. 41 Figure 28: From inside the roof seem very heavy yet floating ............................ 41 Figure 30: Illustration showing the jointing of stones at the corner. ................... 42 Figure 29: Profile drawing to corner joint ........................................................... 42 Figure 31: The end product. ................................................................................. 42 Figure 32: Switch House, London ....................................................................... 45 Figure 33: Jacques Herzog (left) and Peirre de Meuron (right) ........................... 46 Figure 34: Functional scheme of the museum ...................................................... 48 Figure 35: Same element of brickwork between Tate Modern and Switch House ............................................................................................................................... 49 Figure 36: Viewing area at the uppermost level of the building.......................... 50 Figure 37: Segregation of galleries where each one having their own entrance . 51 Figure 38: Wide staircase to ease the circulation of people................................. 52 Figure 39: Arrangement of the brick s cladding on the external .......................... 53 Figure 40: Arrangement of the brick s cladding on the external .......................... 53 Figure 41: Arrangement of the brick s cladding on the external .......................... 54 Figure 42: Church of Light, Osaka Japan (1999) ................................................ 57 Figure 43: Tadao Ando ........................................................................................ 58 Figure 44: Penetration of light from the main cruciform at the front .................. 59 Figure 45: Site Plan .............................................................................................. 60 Figure 46: Main chapel floor plan ....................................................................... 61 Figure 47: Sectional drawing illustrate the descending floor level inside the chapel. ................................................................................................................... 62 Figure 48: Building circulation ............................................................................ 62

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Figure 50: The rotated wall never touched the ceiling to allow penetration of light. ...................................................................................................................... 63 Figure 49: Light that enter from behind the altar extend smoothly onto the ceiling, wall and floor. ....................................................................................................... 63 Figure 51: Smooth polished concrete wall on the church. ................................... 64 Figure 52: Flooring and pews that made from recycle materials......................... 65 Figure 53: Pawson House, London ...................................................................... 68 Figure 54: John Pawson ....................................................................................... 69 Figure 55: Absence of additional element of the fixed table top. ......................... 70 Figure 56: Frontage view of Pawson House ........................................................ 71 Figure 57: Minimum physical barrier between the kitchen and courtyard .......... 72 Figure 59: Ground floor plans............................................................................... 73 Figure 58: Basement floor plans .......................................................................... 73 Figure 60: First floor plans .................................................................................. 74 Figure 61: Second floor plans ............................................................................... 74 Figure 63: Transformable glass ceiling to capture both light and view. ............... 75 Figure 62: Allowing the light to projected within the triple volume stairwell by creating a slit of opening on the roof. ................................................................... 75 Figure 64: Uniform set of colour for the walls, furniture and finishes. ................ 76 Figure 65: The colour matchup between furniture and parquet floor ................... 77

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LIST OF TABLES Table 1: Keywords extracted from literature reviews…………………………... 22 Table 2: Divided subtopics to summarize the overview of selected case study…26 Table 3: Keywords to be scored by each project ………………………………. 27 Table 4: Cumulative table from the individual assessment ……………………. 28 Table 5: Summarized information on case study 1…………………………...… 44 Table 6: Summarized information on case study 2…………………………...… 56 Table 7: Summarized information on case study 3…………………………...… 67 Table 8: Summarized information on case study 4…………………………...… 79 Table 9: Minimalist aspect scored by The Thermal Vals…………………….… 80 Table 10: Minimalist aspect scored by Switch House………………………..… 82 Table 11: Minimalist aspect scored by Church of Light……………………...… 83 Table 12: Minimalist aspect scored by Pawson House ………………………… 85 Table 13: Scoring line of all four case studies ……………………………….… 87

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Interpretation of minimalist architecture according to various culture |aminaizatdesign@gmail.com

CHAPTER 1:

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background Today, minimalist approach is considered a current style in architecture. Macarthur in his writing stated that, minimalism is the current architectural fashion (Macarthur 2002). In the light of that, it is fair to say that minimalism is the humanized version of modernist boxes where it simply reflects the current way of life. People claim that minimalism is the next era in architecture, styles that evolved from the modernism architecture. Somehow, some theorists do not really agree with that by stated that minimalism is architecture that has a deeper connection with the occupant, closely related with certain culture. In the light of that, Vice in his writing, claims that Japanese climate, tradition and lifestyle are acceptable for the minimalist formula (Vice 1994). Based on Japanese explanation, architecture minimalist simplify the spaces to expose the inner beauty and quality of the building itself in order to promotes people to lead a simple lifestyle which is in line with Japanese tradition. The style is not completely without ornamentation, but all the details or carvings were reduced to the purest stage. The style that highly adapted from Japanese Zen philosophy was strongly holds to simplicity aspect. On the contrary, Jenks (Jencks 2002) found that minimalism was lead from the absence of ideological beliefs which cause the architect to turn to the expression of neutrality. Ibelings seems to agree with that when he mention that, minimalism is nonsymbolic architecture, empty medium that does not contain any message and can stand anywhere in global world (Ibelings 1998). Thus all this argument show that interpretation toward architecture minimalist may vary based on different cultural background.

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1.2 Problem Statement

Noticeable expansion of the term ‘minimalism’ in architectural practice starts in the late 80s. From then onwards, many theorist came out with interpretive pattern regarding this topic. As a result, these patterns continue to be discussed, do not come from nowhere and have not been there always. Referring back to those text and study, it is found that there was difference of view towards minimalism in architecture. Among those interpretation, there is quite a significant different between Western and Japanese point of view toward this context. The western society tends to interpret minimalism as a rejection to the former architecture style like modernism, neoclassicism and renaissance. Some of them also claim that minimalism in architecture start from the recession of sources or scarcity which makes the designer to strip everything down. On the other hand, Japanese minimalist architect emphasizes on natural lighting, form, material, space, place and human condition. In other words, they not only focus on the physical appearance of the building but more likely to look deeper on public impression inside and how the nature around can have an impact on their design. This is all to make sure they are functioning properly without forgetting the nature around. Not every style is suitable for every circumstance. This is the reason we can see various ideology toward minimalism. Maybe some of the theories were made taking consideration of their climate or how their society was organized. To answer this question, a brief study need to be done covering the background of every culture to see how does culture affect their way of thinking and their architecture.

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1.3 Aim and objectives of research The aim of this study is to have a deeper understanding regarding minimalist architecture and what lead different people from various cultures tend to interpret the style differently .To achieve the aim, several objectives were listed as below: 

To identify significant element in minimalist architecture



To find the relationship between cultural background and interpretation towards minimalist architecture.



To see how the term minimalist translated into their design.

1.4 Scope of research In this paper, focus was given to the overview of the term minimalism and what are the significant elements of the style. The collected data was summarized and several keywords were extracted to ease the process of data analysis. Attention is then shift to several architects that have a distinctive minimalist style. Two projects are from Japanese-oriented architects and the remaining two are Western architects were selected and reviewed to make a comparative study. The division was made based on the two cultures that seem to have slightly different interpretation toward minimalist architecture therefore this study will only focus on the architectural style in foreign countries. Due to time constraint, these minimalist projects will be the respondent of my research to achieve the aim of this research. Finally to answer the research questions, selected case studies was analyzed and discussed to find their significant similarities and differences between them before conclusion was made based on the tabulated data. 3


Interpretation of minimalist architecture according to various culture |aminaizatdesign@gmail.com

Problem statement It is found that there was a difference of interpretation toward minimalist architecture especially between western and Japanese world. In fact, some believe that original notion of minimalism is still unaltered. Aims: The aim of this study is to have a deeper understanding on the principle of minimalist architecture and what lead different people from various cultures tend to interpret the style differently. Objectives of the Research To identify the significant

To find the relationship

To see how the term

elements of minimalism.

between cultural

minimalist translated into

background and

their design.

interpretation towards minimalist architecture.

CHAPTER 2:

Literature review:

Case studies:

Journal articles, books

Journals, Books, Magazines and Online Material Data Analysis Discussion

Conclusion and Recommendation Figure 1: Conceptual framework of this research Source: Author

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Chapter 2: LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Introduction This chapter basically will review earlier writings consisting, journals, books, magazines etc. regarding this topic. The first subtopic will be overview of the history of minimalism, where it all begins and who is responsible in introducing the word minimalism. Next, the literature review will focus on the culture aspect to see how it is affecting their interpretation towards minimalism. Last but not least, the interpretation of minimalist architecture itself, where we will focus on explanation from Western world and Japanese world.

2.2 History of Minimalism The term minimalist in architecture became popular in the second half of 70’s and early 80’s. From then onward, many theorists came out with their definition on this new term in architecture. Among them, one of the most popular is an Italian journal Rassegna, when they published the issue titled Minimal in December 1988 (figure 2). Some of the main topic set their authors were, historical line, ethical aspects, relations with modernism and minimal art. Many dominant researchers regarding this topic were influenced by that very journal.

Figure 2: Rassegna publication entitled Minimal, December 1988. Source: http://modernism101.com

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Some theorists try to relate minimalism to certain area where the style was developing. For example Melhuish in 1994 claims that, Mediterranean minimalism closely related to its location, handcrafting, industrial manufactory and tradition of white, simple, rational architecture incorporated into the landscape (Melhuish 1994). Vice however in 1994 stated that, Japanese climate, tradition and lifestyle are the most suitable for the formula of minimalism (Vice 1994). For Ypma, minimalism is a true London style, conceived in this city in the 80s, as a part of English national characters (Ypma 1996). On the other hand, Ranzo Patrizia in 1996 finds that the elements of minimalism are closely related to the style of vernacular Mediterranean architecture (Carmagnola, Pasca et al. 1996). All these theory clearly show that, there was difference of interpretation toward minimalism regarding the history. In those articles and journals published in early 90’s, they are more focussed toward the work of architects from Mediterranean (Italy, Spain and Portugal), Swiss and Japan. Possible reason for this that is English minimalism was developed through smaller designs and architecture on the interior. Media exposure of this new architecture style developed in Europe to America during the mid 90 'through organized exhibition (Stevanovic 2013). For example, the Light Construction exhibition in 1995, which was organized by Riley, showcases the architecture works of strict rectangular volumes, showing the new architectural sensibility. In Pittsburgh, the exhibition organized by Machado and el-Khoury focus on design that look like as if they were made in a single piece, solid, massive structure. Although the theme of minimalism is not explicitly stressed in both the exhibition, but they make an impact in the delivery of these ideologies within the region. There were several architects which labelled as pioneer in architecture minimalism during early 80’s for example Tadao Ando, Loius Kahn, Mathias Ungers, Arata Isozaki, Luis Barragan and many more. However, the idea of minimalism was already represented by some architect in earlier year before declaration of minimalism. Taking example Villa Savoye that was built in 1928 by Le Corbusier (figure 3). From the design, he tried to highlight the concept of efficiency and simplicity which was one of the strands in 6


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minimalism. In Japanese context, we can see Tadao Ando still practising his outstanding architecture until today and continue to apply minimalism principle in design which closely related to Japanese culture. On the other hand, in Europe one of the most successful architect that strongly reflecting minimalism in their current project is Herzog de Meuron which was famous for their innovative use of exterior material and treatments.

Figure 3: Villa Savoye designed by Le Corbusier in Poissy, France (1929) Source: http://www.archdaily.com/

Therefore, we can see many studies were done and the discussion about the topic keep continuing. The inquiry still remain, one could ask is there specific author, text or publication, hat responsible to promote the minimalism in architecture. The questions on where did all this begin and who were in charge of this ideology still remain undefined.

2.3 Culture Culture is way of life of a group of people. It covers the behaviour, beliefs, values and symbols that they accepted. Generally these aspects were hold by them without thinking as it were passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to another. Thus, every region or country usually will hold to their culture even when they are migrating to another region. According to Cambridge dictionary, culture is a way of 7


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life, especially the general custom and belief of particular group of people in particular time. It clearly suggests that culture would effects most part of someone’s life and their view toward things. Based from the history of minimalism, we can see a difference of opinion regarding the origin of the term itself. Moreover, we can see minimalism in certain country or society were more outstanding compare to another. All these point implying that, interpretation toward minimalism may vary according to their cultural background. For example, Japanese culture claimed to be closely related with minimalism as the term is quite synonym with Buddhist religion they were practicing. Supporting this argument, Stevanovic were saying that aesthetic experience is inseparable from the process of perception and interpretation (Stevanovic 2011). In that very study, he was suggesting that perception of people toward certain architecture style may varied, based on their preconception (what they went through in everyday life). In the light of that, he found that people in Serbia value Japanese minimalist apartment (figure 4) were quite similar to local underground passage in Belgrade (figure 5). Therefore, not every style of architecture is applicable in every culture.

Certain

adjustment need to be done to make sure it suits well with its surrounding.

Figure 5: Apartment in Japanese city Source :(Stevanovic 2013)

Figure 4: Underground passage in Belgrade Source: (Stevanovic 2013)

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Talking about a way of life, the trend of how people go through their daily life would also directly affect their architecture. People who stay in a city usually used to crowded environment around them. But, this busy urban lifestyle somehow pushes certain people to seek calmness and have a break. According to Tong in 2011, many of contemporary minimalist architects do not like hustle buzzle environment of urban living, but at the same time they do not want to return to village to get the tranquillity effect, so they demarcate a place within the urban but refuse all disturbances in order to pursue the calmness they need (Tong 2011). Long before that, Glancey in 1990 also seems to agree with that when pointed that, the superabundance of mass culture visual effects results in a search for a quiet oasis in an overcrowded and visually loud environment (Glancey and Bryant 1990). As can be seen, culture is generally something broad covering most people and would greatly influence their way of thinking. However, culture of people may change through time as they travel or migrate to new place. According to Stevanovic, what we learn from other culture is not only the way certain things are done in architecture, but we can appreciate possibilities of understanding the meaning of human life (Stevanovic 2011). On the whole, when culture influences the architecture, somehow it will let people to explore the meaning of life through the architecture. All these aspects were at some point affecting and connecting to each other, resulting various interpretation towards minimalism.

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2.4 Western interpretation Even though Western Minimalist was less highlighted during the early arising of minimalism, their theorist never failed to come out with many arguments regarding the issue. Taking example Gregory in 1988 stated that minimalism is a tendency to suppress what is excessive in artistic practice. In architectural context, it is referring to architect that tries to strip down irrelevant element in their design to gain a purist form of architecture. In this point, he also relate minimal movement with the American minimal art from the 60s, traditional European Avantgarde and modern architecture (Stevanovic 2013). Among noticeable minimalist artist during that period are Donald Judd (figure6) and Tony Smith (figure 7) where both of them tried to manifest the minimal ideology through sculpture that committed to abstraction and radical reduction of form.

Figure 7: Sculpture done by Donald Judd, 1968 Sources: http://www.artsconnected.org

Figure 6: Sculpture done by Tony Smith, 1965 Sources: http://www.artsconnected.org

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Hence, we can see that Western society tends to describe minimalism on the technical and visual aspect. Along with that, many theorists came up with a long historical line in architectural history and try to relate it with the root of minimalism. Thus, we shall go through several chapters and overviewing some works to understand the western interpretation respecting this issue:

2.4.1

Material and Effect

The first subtopic, called material and effect is a discussion on how architects bring their intention more toward detailing and exploration of the finishes. Goodman emphasizes in his book in 2011, that minimalism is a significant simplification of form, a shift of attention from form to surface and detailing, and from programmatic innovation to architecture of neutral container. He added that, this style is also transformation from authorial intent to the way a work is experienced by the occupant (Goodman. 2011). Thus, besides simplification, Goodman also claims that minimalism focus more on how the building give effect to surrounding people. Respecting this point, two Swiss architects, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron (HND) were among the prominent designer that applying this approach. Herzog quoted in 1997 that, their building strength is the immediate visceral response they have on a visitors. The result delight in both materiality and the sensory impact their buildings have on those who come in contact with them. Focus is given more on how selection of material can give such effects to the visitors rather than the form itself. The shape usually is massive and seems to be made from single solid form. As a result, we often saw that their buildings have a fierce resistance to fragmentation and each project can only be one thing: one essential, closed and finished with homogenous faรงade treatment, rather than a collage of various elements (Goodman. 2011).

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It is fair to say that Herzog and de Meuron’s career start to bloom after the completion of Ricola Storage Building in 1986 (figure 8). Concept of minimalism was highlighted by creating warehouse that has equally simple volume; a rectangular prism with a small loading deck attached on one side. The beauty of this eye-catching building is, the façade treatment where HND use panels of fibre-cement attached to wooden framework, and seems to stack one another within the horizontal line. Simplification and material-wise are two crucial minimalist element that delivered well by Herzog and de Meuron. Additional to that, Auf Dem Wolf Signal Box (figure 9) and Blue House were among other buildings that designed using similar strands.

Figure 8: Herzog and de Meuron, Ricola Storage Building, Laufen, Switzerland (1986) Source: (Goodman. 2011)

Figure 9: Herzog and de Meuron, Auf Dem Wolf Signal Box, Basel, Switzerland (1986–1987) Sources: (Goodman. 2011)

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2.4.2

Super-modernism

Several theorists try to level the term minimalism with other words such as highmodernism, soft modernism and retro modernism(Goodman. 2011). Basically, all these term are referring to movement modified from modern architecture which then called neo-modernism. This extension style of modernism described as architecture that focus on the most basic element of building and claimed to be more grounded to traditional disciplinary of architecture. Pawson in 1996 defines minimalism as the perfection that artefact achieves when it is no longer possible to improve it by subtraction (Pawson and Doze 1996). In line with that, Toy in 1994, stated that minimalism in early 90s was considered a revival of non-ornamentation, clear space and beauty of simple elegance (Toy 1994). In this sense, Toy was suggesting that Minimalism is the next chapter in ever-developing architecture scene. Stevanovic in his interpretive writing, look like to agree with that when he mentioned, minimalism is a cyclical return to the pure form after formalistic excess that happen several times in the history of architecture for examples, GothicRennaissance (figure 10) and Rococo-Neoclassicism (figure 11) (Stevanovic 2013). Given these points, it put that minimalism is another self-understandable linear inevitability in the circle of styles.

Figure 10: Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral, France Source: https://schwingeninswitzerland. wordpress.com/

Figure 11: The Cathedral of Vilnius, Lithuania Source: http://stephendanko.com/

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2.4.3

Phenomenological Architecture

If architecture over the last decade had been influenced by politics, meaning and styles, phenomenology returns the focus to human experience where it tries to relate on how people perceive or understand the building. In this sense, the end product directly connected with the experiential point of view. It suggests that a brief study about the people and surrounding should be taken prior to the final design completion. Steven Holl stated in 1989, that it is the need for the architect to consider selected materials in relation to local lighting conditions, historical memories, and characteristics of the site (Steven 1989). Given these point, minimalism was interpreted as a style where architect should give more privileges to other senses rather than visual. Regarding this matter, Pallasmaa stated that architecture involves seven realm of sensory experience which interacts to each other namely: eye, ear, nose, skin, tongue, skeleton and muscle (Pallasmaa 1994). According to him, visual effect cannot be separated from the tactile feelings: promote emotions and feelings to interact with the building thus bringing positive or negative values to our perceptual experience.

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Sharing the same ideology is Peter Zumthor, Swiss architect who won the Pritzker Prize in 2009. In his book, Zumthor claims that during designing, he tries to find out what those images mean so it will create a wealth of visual forms and atmospheres. Zumthor’s mode of working is to compose the building together with original form and history of the site. Among his prominent projects is Art Museum in Bergenz (figure 12) and Thermal Baths in Vals. In a word, Phenomenological architecture basically makes no reference to the previous architectural languages as its priority was given directly to sensitivity of the occupants. The beauty of the building were not only accessed from the exterior but also gained when they are inside.

Figure 12: Art Museum in Bergenz, Austria (Peter Zumthor,1997). Sources: http://www.mimoa.eu/

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2.5 Japanese interpretation If western context try to relate minimalism with certain historical influence, Japan was completely different story. According to Auer in 1998, Japanese minimalism is an ode to emptiness, moral encouragement and a call for humility and self-realization (Auer 1988). Based on that, we can say that Japanese translation toward minimalism is more abstract and does not strike people directly. This can be seen in several buildings designed by prominent Japanese minimalist such as Tadao Ando ( figure 13) and Kazuyo Sejima (figure 14).Ympa in 1996, also seems to agree with that when he found that minimalism is not a style, but a behaviour and a way of being (Ypma 1996). In fact, he also claims that Japanese minimalism is longing for essence of things, rather than their appearance. In regard to moral meditation emphasized by the Japanese, the most prominent ideology that related to that is their Zen Philosophy. The word Zen itself was adapted from Chinese word that means ‘meditation’. Japanese manipulate Zen concept into the architecture of their buildings by creating space that able to treat the inhabitant. The idea is to guide people to the state of enlighten or being awakened. In other word, people who experienced the space will have a moral boost and spiritual rejuvenation. The emphasization of such value in architecture should be a fundamental aspect especially when designing a home and other building within the same function. In fact, this idea was inferred by Western societies, especially the American in the 18th century before it inspired the broader scope in architecture in 19th century (Lancaster 1953). In the west they try to create an independent architecture, where buildings are isolated from the nature. But in case of Japanese architecture, it integrates with nature by having a space that cannot be distinguish weather it is outside or inside. Thus it can be said that Japanese architecture are very closely related to culture and religious aspect although the technique and material are from the western.

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Figure 14: Church of light, Osaka (Tadao Ando, 1989) Source: http://www.ronenbekerman.com/

Figure 13: New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (Kazuyo Sejima, 2007) Source: http://ideasgn.com/

Hence in the next couple of paragraphs we will take a closer look into every term that related to this philosophy which adapted by most of Japanese minimalist architect:

2.5.1

Zen Philosophy (Moral Freedom)

Zen concept tries to transmit idea of freedom and essence of living. Simplicity is not only concerned with the external, but the moral sincerity and real quality of a material. According to Japanese people, this detailing will led the inhabitant to create imaginary worlds, promote a natural restoring of mind and spirit. Light, shadow, materials, volumes, floors and corridors are among key element to create a natural, simple, delicate, meditative atmosphere. 17


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2.5.2

Ma Concept (Emptyness)

Pawson stated that Japanese aesthetic principle of Ma refers to the empty or open spaces (Pawson and Doze 1996). It removes all unnecessary interior walls and open space between the exterior and interior. This approach is more likely to be seen in Tadao Ando work for instance where he tries to blur the separation line between inside and outside. The result is, building that seems to dance well with the nature and do not stand on its own (figure 15). Again this highlighted principle is another fundamental element in architecture practice that has been translated well by the Japanese people. The emptiness of spatial arrangement is another idea that reduces everything down to the most essential quality. There is common understanding that emptiness is closely related to rejection of ornamentation and decoration or, avoiding overload of object in that will block the experience of space and spatiality.

Figure 15: Green roof of Noshina Hotel on Naoshima Island Source: https://news.illinois.edu

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2.5.3

Wabi-sabi (Voluntary Poverty)

The Japanese aesthetic of Wabi-sabi values the quality of simple and plain objects. It appreciates the absence of unnecessary features to view life in quietness and reveals the most innate character of materials. Wabi can be seen as philosophical term to describe a voluntary poverty and Sabi can be seen as the practical fulfilment of this principle. According to Verhetsel, Japanese interpret emptiness as a positive value, something that can give space to new thought, new creation (Verhetsel, Pombo et al. 2013). In architectural context, the first step is to remove all superfluous material objects, leaving only essential and functional in place. However, beautiful objects can be kept to admire and inspire. After analysing all the values highlighted by Japanese minimalism, it can be said all those term used basically carrying almost identical meaning which promote simplicity, morality and detailing. The key here is, a deep connection with the dweller until it reaches a certain level to touch the feeling of people. In line with that, renowned British minimalist, Pawson stated that concepts of simplicity, reduction and essence are represented as the key of understanding, the necessary state and basic quality of minimalism, and most importantly common ideal of many different cultures (Pawson and Doze 1996). From that statement it can be said that Japanese interpretation in minimalism is more ideal and applicable to various culture. Taking example in Muslim world, the religion also encourages people to promote a ‘moderate’ way of life, which in this context can be directly related to the term ‘simplicity’ itself

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2.6 Summary As can be seen, there are various interpretation towards minimalism. Every theorist came up with their own understanding regarding this issue. Stevanovic quoted that, recognising minimalism in architecture as different architectural concept can restructure our idea of world and affect overall mentality transformation, used to approach achievements of other cultures as incomprehensive and irrational (Stevanovic 2011). Thus, it is important to understand how people interpret minimalism as it will give us the overall idea of how their culture were organised. In this sense, the study of cultural background is important to make sure the suitability of certain style with the culture. In addition, direct application of style can create another problem rather than solution. Architecture gave a lot of priority to functionality, thus understanding towards culture help the architect to make certain adaptation to the style to ensure the building function well. Despite of its similarity with modernism, minimalism anyway is a style that carries a deeper meaning rather than concerning only on aesthetic value. Perception of people may never be consistent as they interpret based on their preconception, but it is crucial to identify the true element of minimalism to make sure it delivers the essential meaning of the style. Given these interpretation from several precedent studies, six keywords have been identified to reflect the definition of minimalist architecture. These words were selected from both western and Japanese interpretation where they seem to best describe the true meaning of minimalist architecture for this discussion.

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Keywords

Explanation Maggie Toy in 1994: “Minimalism was considered a revival of nonornamentation, clear space and beauty of simple elegance.”

1. Simplification of form

-Strip down irrelevant element in design to achieve simplicity and singularity. -Form follows function which means focus given to purist element of architecture.

Verhetsel, Pambo & Heynen in 2013: “Japanese interpret emptiness as a positive value, something that can give space new thought, new creation.” 2. Emptiness

-Creating an empty space in order to produce visual silence and calmness. -The idea to reduce everything down to the most essential quality. Goodman in 2011: “The project can only be one thing; one essential, closed and finished with homogenous façade treatment, rather than collage of various elements.”

3. Seamless

-Application of single type of material/colour to make the building more singular and remarkable. -High appreciation on certain material by doing a deep background study and choosing the most appropriate way of installation.

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Goodman in 2011: “Minimalism is significant simplification of form, a shift of attention from form to surface and detailing.” 4. Detailing

-Attention given to every single detail of the building rather than aesthetic alone. -New advancement or unique approach in terms of construction method. Pallasma in 1994. “Architecture involves seven realms of sensory experience which interact to each other.”

5. Phenomenological

-Transformation of authorial intent to the way a work is experienced by the occupant. -Focus given on how to deliver meaning and massage that building carries. Auer in 1988: “Japanese minimalism is an ode to emptiness, moral encouragement and call for humanity and selfrealization.”

6. Moral meditation

-Creating a space that able to give spiritual boost to people. -To create a building that integrates well with the nature and touch people’s feeling.

* Phenomenology: Denoting or relating to an approach that concentrates on the study of consciousness and the objects of direct experience.

Table 1: Keywords extracted from literature reviews. Source: Author (from various sources)

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CHAPTER 3:

Methodology

3.1 Introduction The research was carried out by extracting the information and knowledge regarding minimalist architecture from existing journals and publications. This research is form of Qualitative Document Analysis where the author systematically analysing the contents of written documents. These documents are than interpreted to answer the research questions. The methodology used for this research is mainly based from literature review of previous researcher regarding minimalist architecture and case studies on several existing minimalist buildings. Primary type of document used for this research is personal documents that consist of journals, newspapers, magazines and websites.

3.2 Data resources

3.2.1

Literature Review

Literature review of this research consist of four main subtopics namely history, culture, Western interpretation and finally the Japanese interpretation. The first subtopic of literature review focused on the history of minimalist architecture itself. It covers on how the term minimalist was first coined in the field of architecture and which individual responsible for that movement. Next is the cultural aspect where it covers on how different culture background affects the interpretation of the term minimalism. In line with that, interpretation of minimalist architecture from both Western and Japanese side were reviewed by extracting several main keywords relating to the discussed topic.

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3.2.1

Website Articles

Website articles generally used to find information on the chosen projects. Most of the articles reviewed are from architectural sites, blogs and also forums. Some of these websites also publish an interview with the respective architect himself. Finally, each project was then reviewed and analysed to find significant minimalist element used by the architects. Photographs and images were also analysed and edited by author to get the clearer understanding on the highlighted features.

3.2.1

Books and Magazines

In order to support finding in previous sources, several books and magazine were selected especially the one which related to the discussed topic. Generally, the books will cover on the architecture theory and philosophical elements while the selected magazines provide an overview and conceptual analysis of the selected buildings. Some of the reviewed books were downloaded from internet and some were directly accessed from the campus library.

3.2.1

Limitation

The study does not cover local buildings or local architects as it focused more on Western and Japanese culture. These two cultures were selected as they have noticeable difference when it comes to the interpretation minimalist architecture. Besides that, only one building was selected from each architect to ensure more comprehensive study can be done on each project. For that reason, the selected project basically will be the one that conveys the best philosophy from each architect.

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3.3 Research Methodology

3.3.1

Setting criteria for documents

The preliminary stage of this research is to set the research scope and focus group. To study the relationship between culture and interpretation of minimalist architecture, Western and Japanese architecture were selected as each of them have their own clarification on minimalism. To support the argument and to get better understanding, four buildings were then selected to study how minimalist elements inserted into those buildings. Two building were designed by Japanese-influenced architects and the another two are from western region.

3.3.2

Collecting documents and information

Documents and information were then collected from journal articles, websites, books and magazines. Most of the selected articles were accessed from online database through the UiTM online library for example Sage, Science Direct, ProQuest and also Google Scholar. Some of the books meanwhile directly accessed from the UiTM library and also downloaded online.

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3.3.3

Summarizing info

To ease the process of analysis and extracting info, the collected material were then summarized one by one and divided into several subtopics. With this intention, among the important subtopics would be the ‘Western interpretation’ and ‘Japanese interpretation’ as it will divide these authors into two main groups. At the end of the literature review, several keywords were then taken out from both side regarding their perception on minimalist architecture (refer to page 21 and 22). These keywords will be used as a guideline to make an analysis on the next chapter. Meanwhile for the case studies, the collected information was summarised in a table showing several important points. This summary will help to affluence the final analysis and ensure an extensive discussion can be made on the following chapter.

Summary

Description

Architects philosophy

Brief explanation on the architect’s background and what are their significant design principles.

Design concept

The concept and approach used by the architect for that building.

Form

The overall shape of the building and how it was derived.

Space

Spatial arrangement inside and the circulation pattern designed by the architect.

Materials and detail

Type and finishes used and the construction method applied to complete the project.

Special features

Interesting facts and special features or afford done by the architect on the building.

Table 2: Divided subtopics to summarize the overview of selected case studies. Source: Author (from various sources)

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3.3.4

Analysing the case studies

For the first step, each case study was analysed individually weather they met six criteria listed earlier. The evaluation will be based on the emphasization of those keywords that showed in their building. Elaboration and explanation is then provided below the table to justify the result.

Keywords

Emphasization

Simplification of form Emptiness Seamless Detailing Phenomenological Moral meditation Table 3: Keywords to be scored by each project Sources: Author (from various sources)

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After all four building have been rated, those individual table were combined to get overall view of the scoring pattern. Highest rated keywords or criteria among them will be selected to identify the most significant element of minimalist architecture. At the same time, the tabulation process also allows the author to ascertain architect who met the most keywords.

Thermal Baths Keywords Peter Zumthor

Switch

Church of

House

Light

Herzog

Tadao

& de

Ando

Meuron

Pawson House John Pawson

Simplification of form Emptiness Seamless Detailing Phenomenological Moral meditation Total Table 4: Cumulative table from the individual assessment Sources: Author (from various sources)

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To support the argument from tabulated table, comparative study was made to have a deeper look on the architects’ interpretation toward minimalist architecture. Thus, on the next subtopic all case studies were analysed based on four main subtopics namely: i.

concept

ii.

form

iii.

space

iv.

material and detail

The idea is have more inclusive comparison for all projects. Besides, the evaluation also will allow author to identify differences and similarities of approach carry by these architects.

3.3.5

Discussion Discussion regarding the tabulated table is crucial to find the possible reason and

explanation for the result. On the other hand, discussion on difference and similarities of each project was aim to find the relationship between cultural background and their interpretation about minimalist architecture. In this case, the comparison was not only focused on two different cultures but also made between all four architects in order to get wider view and unbiased discussion regarding the issues.

3.3.6

Conclusion Finally, based on discussion and comparison on all mentioned issues, conclusion

was made to answer the research questions and to accomplish the overall objectives of this research. Recommendation was then made for the further research in the upcoming future. 29


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CHAPTER 4:

CASE STUDY

4.1 Introduction This chapter consist of overview and analysis of several precedent studies. Generally, there are four numbers of precedent studies that have been selected for this dissertation. Each building was selected based on interpretation of minimalist architecture that has been discussed on the literature review. Out of four, two buildings were designed by Japanese architects and the remaining two were designed by western architects. The division was made based on the two cultures that seem to have slightly different interpretation toward minimalist architecture. This is to ensure that each building was designed by architect whom have a distinguished philosophy especially related to the term minimalism. The sources for this precedent studies was collected from magazines, journal articles and online materials. Among those buildings are: i.

The Thermal Vals, Graubunden, Switzerland.

ii.

Switch House, London.

iii.

Church of Light, Osaka, Japan.

iv.

Pawson House, London.

Precedent studies have been analysed according to 3 main aspects namely general information, architect’s philosophy and finally the building design itself. Focus was given on how these architects translated minimalist element into their buildings. Some images were attached in this chapter to get a clearer view on the discussed topic included with the author’s comments.

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4.2 Case Study 1: The Thermal Vals

4.2.1

General infomation Building Name The Thermal Vals Building Typology Spa Architect Peter Zumthor Location Graubunden, Switzerland Project Year 1996

Figure 16: The Thermal Vals, Graubunden Switzerland (1996) Source: http://amagazine.com.au/

The Thermal Bath (figure 16) was completed in 1996 to pre date the existing hotel complex. Located in Valsertal Valley, surrounded by the monumental Adula Mountains in the Central Alps, Thermal Baths was facing a very interesting view from various angles. Zumthor was commissioned to design the spa replacing the existing one which designed by Rudolf Berger in 1960s. The new facility is more exclusive compare to the previous one and still running under the municipality until today. Listed as protected heritage building, Peter Zumthor is among a few architects who their building were given such an honour in his own lifetime.

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4.2.2

Architect’s philosophy

Figure 17: Peter Zumthor Source: http://www.architravel.com/

Peter Zumthor (figure 17) is a Swiss architect who was born in Basel on 1943. He is the son of a cabinet maker thus making him exposed to the profession since childhood. Zumthor further his study in industrial design and architecture in New York as an exchange student. Later in 1979, he opens his own office in Haldenstein, Switzerland. Along with his architectural practice, Zumthor also teaches at several universities including Harvard. For some, Zumthor is the greatest architect alive. He is well known for his minimalist and pure aesthetic buildings. The key to this is that he always tries to keep his practice small so that he can pays attention to every detail of the project. One of the strength of his project is the balanced between historical value of the site and the modernity element of the building. 32


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Zumthor always put a priority to the sense of space. During designing, he has the ability to give an appropriate mood to the space by paying a little attention to the small details. Among significant elements in his building are skylights, narrow opening for natural lighting, water bodies and harmonious pattern and texture of the surface. Zumthor believes that architecture should always be a firsthand experience and not by a books or magazines.

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4.2.3

Building design a) Concept “Mountain, stone, water- building in the stone, building with the stone, into the

mountain, building out of the mountain, being inside the mountain-how can the implication and the sensuality of the association of these words be interpreted, architecturally?� a brief explanation by Zumthor when asked about the concept of Thermal Bath. The idea is to create a cave like structure where the rooms were constructed under the grass roof making half of the building set under the hillside (figure 18). The building was built from layer upon layer using the stone from the local quarry nearby. Thus most of the building was constructed based on that material in order to give the mood and inspiration of the mountain.

Figure 18: The initial idea of the design sketched by Peter Zumthor Source: https://en.wikiarquitectura.com/

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b) Form With a restriction to project the building upwards as it will block the view from the hotel, Zumthor decided sink half of the building in the slope. The result is a very rigid rectangular form building with punctured windows across the frontage, resemble a habitable rock that blend nicely with the landscape (figure 19).

Figure 19: Site plan and of the Thermal Baths Sources: http://thethermevals.blogspot.my/ Edited by author

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a) Space Located in between the existing hotel, the spa mainly consist 15 massage rooms, 5 changing rooms, rest area, showers and 5 main thermal bath pool. Most of the facilities located on the upper floor (figure 20) while the lower part allocated for treatment area and services (figure 21). With half of the structure buried within the hill, the primary spaces mostly located at the front to capture the daylight and views (figure 22&23). The building was accessed from left and right side leaving the frontage fully utilized to capture the breathtaking view of the mountains.

Figure 20: Upper floor plan Sources: https://en.wikiarquitectura.com/ Edited by author

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Figure 21: Lower floor plan Sources: https://en.wikiarquitectura.com/ Edited by author

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Figure 22: Sections Sources: https://en.wikiarquitectura.com/

Figure 23: Sections Sources: https://en.wikiarquitectura.com/

The user circulation inside the building is carefully designed to make sure they get the experience of discovery and to truly appreciating the hot springs. The idea is to make people feel like they are walking inside a woods where everyone is moving through their own path. In this sense, Zumthor tries to play light and shadow, closed and open space, and keeping the plan very linear.

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Describing the concept as ‘the meander’, Zumthor designed the negative space between the blocks to make sure the path is connected and lead people to the entire building (figure 24). Along this maze-like trail, the perspective is always controlled to make sure people only see the surrounding nature and not the adjacent building. Additional to that, each path is predestined to certain point so that they get the sense of discovery and exploration once inside the building. After all, the precisely controlled route of thermal bath is intended to evoke the sensory stimuli and creating a timeless experience for the visitors.

Figure 24: Blow out drawing showing the circulation of the building Source: (Einnemee 2014)

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c) Material and Details The whole building was made up from 15 separate concrete units. Each unit have a different size and arrange according to respective grid forming a one complete mass like a giant puzzle (figure 25&26). The complete fifteen unit arranged next to another but never really binded leaving 8 cm gap on the grid (figure 27&28). The idea is to allow natural lighting to enter throught the narrow slits and giving the cave like effect inside.

Figure 25: Each units has large outcropping roof Source:(Zumthor, Oberli-Turner et al. 2006)

Figure 26: The overhang concrete structure held by metal cable. These cables are invisible due to concrete enclosure to make sure the whole structure looks like a single stone unit. Sources: https://en.wikiarquitectura.com/

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Figure 27: Gap between each unit visible on the green roof. Sources: clemsoningenoa.files.wordpress.com/

Figure 28: From inside the roof seem very heavy yet floating Sources: https://en.wikiarquitectura.com/

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The entire building was made up from 60,000 local quartzite stones, Valser Gneiss. Identical stones were used for both interior and exterior of the building. These stones later were cut into different sizes and arranged in random order to avoid repetitive pattern. Ranging from 63mm to 31mm, each stone precisely placed closely to one another to create a beautiful seamless surface. Same approach also used at the corner to ensure the continuity of the wall (figure 29, 30 & 31).

Figure 30: Profile drawing to corner joint Source: https://iitcoa3rdyr.files.wordpress.com/

Figure 29: Illustration showing the jointing of stones at the corner. Source: https://iitcoa3rdyr.files.wordpress.com/

Figure 31: The end product. Source: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/

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4.2.4

Summary

Summary Architects

Description 

philosophy

Spend early life as cabinet maker before further architecture study in New York.

Referred and the greatest architect alive by some journalist.

Tries to keep his practice small so that he pays more attention to every detail of his project.

The strength of his building is the balance between historical value and modernity element produced.

Give priority to sense of space where he has the ability to give mood to space by playing with illumination of light and manipulation of materials.

Design

concept

Creating a cave like structure with dark circulation where half of the building set under the hillside.

Almost entire finishes were using stones from the local quarry to make sure the building blend well with its surrounding.

Form

Rectangular plan layout where the entire structure constructed layer by layer.

15 units of concrete block with different size arranged together based on specific grid forming the entire structure like a giant puzzle.

Space

Internal path was carefully modeled to make sure the circulation lead to certain predestined point.

The idea is to create a sense of exploration and and controlling the people’s perspective view.

Public space located mainly on the upper level while allocating services on the lower level. 43


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Materials

and detail

The building was finished with 60,000 local gneiss stone, arranged piece by piece in a non-repetitive pattern.

The idea is produce a seamless surface and maintaining the singularity appearance.

Special

features

The 15 concrete units that formed the entire structure never really bind to each other by sparing 8 cm gap on the intersection.

The idea is have perfect narrow slits of natural lighting thus giving the desired mood for the space.

Each piece of stone at the corner jointing was cut to different length to enhance the continuous impression of the wall. Table 5: Summarized information on case study 1 Source: Author (from various sources)

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4.3 Case Study 2: Switch House (Tate Modern Extension)

4.3.1

General Info Building Name New Tate Modern Building Typology Museum Architect Herzog and de Meuron Location London Project Year 2016

Figure 32: Switch House, London Source: http://www.archdaily.com/

Switch house (above 32) is an extension building to Tate Modern museum next to it. While Tate Modern was a successful transformation of the existing Bankside Power Station, the new extensional building is the reinterpretation of the museum itself. The 11 storey building built to cater the increasing number of visitors of the museum which increasing positively since the opening in 2000.

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4.3.2

Architect’s philosophy

Figure 33: Jacques Herzog (left) and Peirre de Meuron (right) Source: http://www.arcspace.com/

Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron (above 33) are the two individual that share the same ideology in architecture and working closely together in every projects. The two founding partner of Herzog and de Meuron Basel Ltd. (HnD) have almost parallel career. Both of them went to Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH) and finished their degree in 1975. Their chemistry is undeniable when both of them awarded with Pritzker Prize in 2001. Their career start to bloom in year 2000 when the design of Tate Modern in London manage to catch public’s attention with their unique architecture approach. HnD is well known for building singularities, formal clarify and interesting detail finishing. Their strong reductivist design character is almost the same as minimal art of Donald Judd. They represent architecture that rejects the modernist ornamentation. Their strength is the innovation of a new material such as silkscreen glass or woven copper strips that produce such a remarkable product that catch people’s eye. 46


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Herzog once quoted, “The strength of our building is the immediate visceral response they have on a visitor. For us, that is all important in architecture. We want to make a building that can cause sensation, not represent this or that idea.â€? They managed to achieve the sensory effect with an exploration of a new material on every project. The product is something that looks quite ambiguous, closed and finished with homogeneous façade treatment. But primary to that, the simplification of form that make the building very singular and helps their building more noticeable.

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4.3.3

Building design a) Concept Since the opening of Tate Modern in 2000, the building has become the most

visited museum in the world. Responding to that issue, Tate has launched design competition for the extension project. HnD compete with other 10 finalist and finally succeed to be assigned for the new building namely, Switch House. The building located south of the original tate modern and sit above ther existing oil tank beneath (figure 34). Responding to that issue, Hnd used the tanks for performance and exhibition space. With almost 10 years gap between the original conversion and the new extension proposal, we can see the architecture style of HnD have develop or changing drastically. But for this new iconic building, HnD somehow return to their original architecture clarification style in order to build a relationship with the existing building which was also designed by them. They wanted the Switch House to have the same element with Tate Modern, closely related and function as a single organism

Figure 34: Functional scheme of the museum Source: http://www.inexhibit.com/

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b) Form Despite its unique outlook, the shape and form of the building basically derived directly from the original power station building and its surrounding. The twisted, ziggurat-like form created based on the various geometries and consideration to the site such as roadways and viewing area. Intended to be more distinctive but not completely overshadow the original building, the form of Switch House adapted from geometry of the power station (figure 35). The result was a series of polygonal squares stacked together but arrange in a different orientation.

Figure 35: Same element of brickwork between Tate Modern and Switch House Sources: http://www.tate.org.uk/

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c) Space The total built up area of the building is about 22,500 square meters and consist of exhibition spaces, education rooms, performance rooms, offices, commercial area, viewing area and car parks. The 65 meter structure will be connected to the old building at the first and second level as well as a pedestrian bridge on the fifth floor. Although the external appearance convey singularity image, the interior spaces was strategically divided into three main sections. Lower levels were allocated for galleries, followed by learning and facilities above them and finally the top area were reserved for restaurant and viewing area (figure 36).

Figure 36: Viewing area at the uppermost level of the building Sources: http://www.dezeen.com/

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The architects believe that such museum needs more quiet and peaceful atmosphere. For HnD, high attendance sometimes gives a good impact to the museum but not for the visitors. Therefore, rather than designing a conventional continuous galleries, the galleries in Switch House arranged to stand alone with more dead ends (figure 37). The idea is to create a random exploration for the visitors and to avoid congestion. Responding to that, the stairs were designed wider than it should be as Herzog wants people to experience the space and not to rush from one gallery to another (figure 38).

Figure 37: Segregation of galleries where each one having their own entrance Sources: http://www.dezeen.com/

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Figure 38: Wide staircase to ease the circulation of people. Sources: http://www.dezeen.com/

Additional to that, HnD also believe that architecture should be weapon to encounter the negative effect of digital world. With this theory, they suggested that people should able to experience the space with their sensory stimulus and not through fake images and illusion they usually get on the internet. In this sense, they claim that the new building will not only act as an art container but also medium of interaction for the visitors thus being the reality checkpoint for the surrounding people. Interestingly, the phenomenology aspect highlighted here is almost similar to the approach used by Tadao Ando and Peter Zumthor in their buildings.

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a)

Material and Details

The additional building were clad with 336,000 bricks, forming a unique perforated lattice finishes intended to create a translucent surface that looks like a knitwear (figure 39, 40). A series of horizontal lines were also introduced at random forming slices across the brick surface. The idea is to allow light to enter during the day and glow in the evening. Using a very basic and conventional material, HnD manage to transform Switch House into an iconic building by the creative arrangement and manipulation of the brickworks.

Figure 39: Arrangement of the brick s cladding on the external Sources: http://www.dezeen.com/

Figure 40: Arrangement of the brick s cladding on the external Sources: http://www.dezeen.com/

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Most of the walls on the interior were left unplastered and exposed to minimised distraction to the exhibition inside (figure 41). The humble polished concrete surfaces on the interior also tend to balance the striking outer enclosure of the building. After all, the latticed brickwork that clad the concrete structure helps the extension to match the brickwork of the original power station building.

Figure 41: Arrangement of the brick s cladding on the external Sources: http://www.dezeen.com/

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4.3.4

Summary

Summary Architects

Description 

philosophy

Two partners that have almost parallel career timeline and have a high chemistry in terms of their design approach.

Being the first architect partners to awarded with Pritzker Price in 2001.

Well known for their singularity of design form and creative innovation of the materials.

Inspired by 60’s minimal artist, Donald Judd.

Strongly believe to visceral effect and user sensation to make their building successful.

Design

concept

To create something translucent like and knitwear to stimulate the sense of openness and transparency of public cultural building.

The idea is to make sure the new and old one combined harmoniously but at the same time, they want the new one to be more distinct.

Form

The shape itself derived from the original building where series of polygonal squares arranged together but in different manner.

Consideration was also taken from the road line and viewing corridor.

The product is a twisted brick panel forming a tapered zigguratlike building.

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Space

Despite the singularity of the structure, the interior was divided into three categories namely gallery, public facilities and commercial area.

To create a peaceful and uncongested space, the stairs were designed wider and each gallery inside was segregated.

The idea is for the visitors to have a random pattern of movement inside.

Materials

and detail

The façade was designed using 336,000 bricks staggered one to another forming a seamless perforated surface.

The envelope filters the light during daytime and glow out during its nightime.

Finishes on the inside mostly a raw polished concrete surface that create minimal visual distraction compare to its striking exterior.

Special

features

The entire structure set on the existing oil tanks underground which were retained for exhibition spaces.

Micro arrangement of each brick and macro placement of opening on the façade proved their commitment for the façade treatment even by using a basic material.

They managed to produced distinctive structure without abandoning the old one and at the same time respecting the surrounding London skyline. Table 6: Summarized information on case study 2 Source: Author (from various sources)

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4.4 Case Study 3: Church of Light

4.4.1

Introduction Building Name Church of Light Building Typology Religious building Architect Tadao Ando Location Obaraki, Osaka Japan Project Year 1999

Figure 42: Church of Light, Osaka Japan (1999) Source: http://www.ronenbekerman.com/

The main chapel of the Ibaraki Kasugouka Church (figure 42) is located in the small town of Ibaraki, 25km outside of Osaka, Japan. The church was built in 1989 and later the building was extended with additional Sunday school. Church of Light is one the most famous church designed by Tadao Ando. With a rough area of 113 meter square, the small chapel were designed based on very limited budget. Renowned with several successful religious building, Church of Light is the perfect example to study the design principle he applied to the building. 57


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4.4.2

Architect’s philosophy

Figure 43: Tadao Ando Source: http://blog.miragestudio7.com/

Tadao Ando (figure 43) was born in Osaka in 1941. Grew up in Osaka, Ando’s early history is quite interesting compare to other renowned architect. He spent his early period of life as a professional boxer and a truck driver. He never went to any architectural school. In his early 20’, Ando began to visit traditional architecture works in Japan and start to learn design by doing actual model on a small scale. Later he went to Europe and visited works of Alvar Aalto and Le Corbusier. At the age of 28 Tadao Ando opened his own office. Ando’s work is far from despairing, he try to let all our sense to communicate with the nature. Instead of providing too much comfort, Ando work let us to be more watchful and responsive toward physical environment. In other word, making the inhabitant to be more grateful and appreciate the nature. It is closely related to selfdiscovery rather than self-indulgence. When world today is overflow with mass visual culture, Ando work serve as a reality check. 58


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4.4.3

Building Design a) Concept Ando’s intention is try to create design that have a close contact with light, air, rain and other natural elements. We can see most of the opening were left open without any glass surface for instance as it will ruin the light effect. His design is liberated from any architectural school, means the designs are mostly responding to his inner vision. He consistently uses enclosing thick concrete wall to create a private zone within the building. At certain space, light and wind allowed to penetrate to enhance the serenity aspect (figure 44). According to him, architecture should not talk to much instead he believe integration with nature will add a story to the building. In the light of that, Ando likes to describe his architecture as “the box that provokes�.

Figure 44: Penetration of light from the main cruciform at the front Source: http://openbuildings.com/

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b) Form Church of light was completed in 1989 as an extension to existing wooden church and minister house within Ibaraki Kasugouka Church. Ten years later, Ando was assigned to design Sunday School building next to the chapel (figure 45). For the school, Ando decided to use the same orientation as the chapel. With almost identical size and from, the Sunday school seems to blend well with the existing church next to it.

Figure 45: Site Plan Source: (Zabalbeascoa and Marcos 1998)

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c) Space The main church is 6 m x 18 m wide and 6 meter height. The rectangular shape building is then crossed with a wall rotated a 15 degree that actually never touches the other wall (figure 46). The floor slopes down to the main alter which is at the foot of a large cut out cross-punctured into the concrete wall (figure 47).

Altar

Seating

Transitional Space

Figure 46: Main chapel floor plan Source: http://arch-mess-of-me.blogspot.my/ Edited: Author

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Figure 47: Sectional drawing illustrate the descending floor level inside the chapel. Source: http://www.public.iastate.edu/

The entrance was made intentionally indirect. The movement into the church is controlled by the angled wall (figure 48). People will need to enter the space from minister house located at back. Arriving at the small square in between the two building, people will have to walk through small path before entering the main space. The intention is that, the visitors emerge from a cramp entry into an open space which is sanctuary.

Figure 48: Building circulation Source: http://www.public.iastate.edu/ Edited by author

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d) Material and Details Ando once quoted, “in all my works, light is an important controlling factor”. In this case, Ando’s located the cross on the east façade to allow the light to pour into the space (figure 49). Supporting this issue, the side wall also never touches the ceiling to enhance the illumination (figure 50). By keeping the minimum amount of opening, he managed to intensify the emanated light through the space. Additionally, he decided to leave the opening exposed without any translucent surface as it would interrupt the quality of transmitted light. He believes that the fusion of light will give a calmness effect and serenity to the inhabitant. The idea is that, people relieves the stresses of the outside and emerge into the sacred interior.

Figure 50: Light that enter from behind the altar extend smoothly onto the ceiling, wall and floor. Source: http://openbuildings.com/

Figure 49: The rotated wall never touched the ceiling to allow penetration of light. Source: http://blog.dcdomain.org/

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The building material is mainly using concrete and wood. The concrete are usually ‘in-situ’ poured in. The main enclosing wall at the temple itself is a 15 inches thick concrete. Ando use precisely crafted wooden form for his work, varnished and polished on the inside to get the smooth surface. The result is glass-like surface that reflect the light exquisitely (figure 51). Ando even has his own team of expert carpenter to build the formwork for his projects. The evenly-spaced holes on the walls are from the bolts that hold the form together. Commenting on his wall, Ando said that “at times wall manifest a power that boarder on the violent. They have the power to divide space, transfigure place, and create new domain. Walls are the most basic elements of architecture, but they can also be the most enriching”. Referring to the statement, it is clearly justify why most his buildings were made mainly from solid and rigid juxtaposed concrete wall. Somehow, because the wall is very precisely constructed, it produced a nice textile surface overshadowing its heavy mass character.

Figure 51: Smooth polished concrete wall on the church. Sources: http://www.trover.com/

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The dark interior of the chapel is balanced with the dark and rough texture wood on the floor and bench (figure 52). Planks and other parts of the scaffolding used during construction were reused to for the floor finish and furniture. The wood is then polished with a black oil stain to enhance its texture while giving the reflective effect to the space.

Figure 52: Flooring and pews that made from recycle materials Sources: http://www.someslashthings.com/

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4.4.4

Summary

Summary Architects

Description 

philosophy

Self-taught architects who was a truck driver and professional boxer.

Create architecture that highly responsive to the natural element

Main strength is material, form and light effect.

Produce buildings that more enclosed with thick concrete to create a private zone inside.

Design

concept

Creating simple illuminated box that able to give a contemplating effect.

Creating a space that almost fully enclosed from the outer world so that people who enter will leave their stress outside.

Form

Rectangular shape building crossed with a single plane wall at 15 degree from the center.

Space

Circulation to enter the church is indirect and controlled by the rotated wall.

People need to walk through narrow path before entering the space so that they feel like emerging from cramp entry to open space which is sanctuary.

Materials

and detail

Most of the building finished with thick concrete wall that was precisely constructed.

The dark interior was balanced with recycle wood planks used for the flooring and benches.

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Special

features

Ando try minimizes the opening as small as possible to produce a beautiful slits of natural lighting that projected to the entire space.

The concrete was varnished and polished to produce glass-like surface that able to reflect light evenly.

Ando has his own specialist team for the construction of the concrete wall. Table 7: Summarized information on case study 3 Source: Author (from various sources)

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4.5 Case Study 4: Pawson House

4.5.1

Introduction Building Name Pawson House Building Typology Private Residential Architect John pawson Location Notting Hill, London Project Year 1999

Figure 53: Pawson House, London Source: http://milajansa.com/

Located in west London, Pawson House (figure 53) is family house of renowned minimalist architect John Pawson. The house was designed by himself and his wife, Catherine Pawson which is an interior designer. The end lot Victorian style house was left unchanged on their façade as the local building regulation prohibits any adjustment. While the front look remains unchanged, major alteration was made on the interior and the back of the house. Being a specialist for home design around the world, perhaps the architects’ own house is the best example to see how he interpret minimalist architecture into his design. 68


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4.5.2

Architect’s philosophy

Figure 54: John Pawson Source: http://www.interiordesign.net/

John Pawson (figure 54) is renowned English architect who was borned in Yorkshire, England. Pawson involved in his family textile business during his early life. He spent years traveling to India, Australia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Finally he spent 4 years in Japan where he visited the studio of Japanese architect and designer. His stay in Japan hugely influenced his philosophy of architecture. On his return, he enter Architecture Association in London for several years before open his own practice in 1981. He once quoted that, “minimum could be defined as the perfection that an artefact achieves when it is no longer possible to improve it by subtraction”. In most of his work, simplicity and emptiness play an important role to give the minimalist effect. He believes that empty space is able to give a moral meditation to the inhabitant. The idea is create a place where people can achieve a peace of mind by the absence of any distractive element 69


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4.5.3

Building Design

a) Concept The house is making the inhabitant to live inside a fixed, build in decoration that cannot be transformed. Thus we can see most of the cabinet and storage was mounted to the wall leaving open habitable space on the centre (figure 55). The idea is to prohibit the additional element within the space. Bond between object and subject do not grow organically over time thus produce several positive impacts. First, is the long lasting aesthetic view and secondly is to lower the consumerism. This approach was adapted from Japanese element, Wabi Sabi. The Japanese believe that people should appreciate small things that make them happy.

Figure 55: Absence of additional element of the fixed table top. Source: (Sudjic and Pawson 2000)

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b) Form Restricted by the local building regulation, the house front faรงade is left to its original classic Victorian style (figure 56). Pawson somehow make a huge alteration on the interior. The rear part of the house is sliced open and allocated with a small courtyard. Most interior walls are strip down to create an empty area. The idea is start designing once the space cleared, starting from scratch, tabula rasa. Pawson try to relate his house with the introvert style of Japanese dwellings. Most of the windows in the house intended for the natural light rather than capturing the views. To enhance the privacy, every window was installed with blinds to block the view from the streets. Certain openings somehow projected facing the private patio he had on the back.

Figure 56: Frontage view of Pawson House Source: (Sudjic and Pawson 2000)

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c) Space The basement floor was allocated for dining room and kitchen (figure 57). The long worktop cabinet is continuous until the courtyard transpassing the glass wall. The singularity of built in furniture and transparency of the back wall making the kitchen integrated well with the courtyard (figure 58). The garden is considered a patio that not really exposed to the neighbour or public.

Figure 57: Minimum physical barrier between the kitchen and courtyard Source: http://milajansa.com/

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The ground floor was allocated for the living room where it connected with the main entrance (figure 59). The empty space is filled with an oak table designed by Pawson and a simple fireplace. The floor space at the back is allocated for veranda facing the small courtyard on the basement level.

Figure 59: Basement floor plans Source: http://www.tankonyvtar.hu/

Figure 58: Ground floor plans Source: http://www.tankonyvtar.hu/

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The upper floors mainly consist of master bedroom (figure 60) and children’s rooms (figure 61). The view point on every floor were shifted to the back rather than facing the main road. Each level is connected by a simple single flight of stairs. The stair was designed like a single piece object without seams. The stairs projected over the full length of the house and act as an intermediate area separating his house with the adjacent lot.

Figure 60: First floor plans Source: http://www.tankonyvtar.hu/

Figure 61: Second floor plans Source: http://www.tankonyvtar.hu/

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His attention is mainly on the form, material and light. Very similar to the famous Japanese architect, Tadao Ando. The roof part of the house is cut open forming a slits of natural lighting projected down into the triple volume staircase (figure 62). Besides that, the extensive use of artificial lightings at every edge also helps to enhance the calming mood of the space. On the uppermost floor, the toilet was finished with a glass ceiling to allow view of the sky (figure 63). This glass structure can be opened when the weather permits.

Figure 63: Allowing the light to projected within the triple volume stairwell by creating a slit of opening on the roof. http://www.johnpawson.com/

Figure 62: Transformable glass ceiling to capture both light and view. http://www.johnpawson.com/

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d) Material and Details The colour scheme for the house is very light. Pawson used a limited range of colour to complement the straightforward layout of the house. The white colour was chosen for the wall and ceiling, avoiding a contract between them (figure 64). Whiteness plays an important role to produce a space with pure language and absence of visual pollution. The highlighted colour would be the brown marble worktop of the kitchen where it elongated until the yard.

Figure 64: Uniform set of colour for the walls, furniture and finishes. Sources:(Pawson 2011)

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Same material was also used for the stairs, bench and baths. The worktop is not only a furniture, but also act a piece of architecture that seems to blend well with the wall. Similar approach was also used for the bench on the ground floor. This huge structure was lifted by a crane to put it on place. Finally, the light brown furniture was placed to complete the space and having the same colour as parquet floor (figure 65). The result is a space that seems empty, placed with limited furniture and finished with a uniform colour.

Figure 65: The colour matchup between furniture and parquet floor Sources:(Pawson 2011)

Pawson believes that most of the materials for his buildings need to be seamless in order to achieve the deepest feeling and visual silence. Thus we can see most of his 77


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project finished with light colours without any colour blocking combination. The idea is to create a humble structure that does not speak too much but instead promote a calm ambience.

4.5.4

Summary

Summary Architects

Description 

philosophy

Self-taught architect who spend his early life in his family textile business.

Spent several years travelling in Japan where most of his work is highly influenced by Japanese buddhism element, Wabi Sabi.

Design concept

Creating a house that strongly highlighting the emptiness element or voluntary poverty.

Pawson believe that empty space can create visual silence at the same time produce a calmness of the space.

Form

Original façade was retain and massive alteration were made for the interior space.

Space

Divided into 4 levels including one basement level.

The entire floor was connected by narrow single flight staircase located next to the party wall.

Rear area allocated with private courtyard that connected with the kitchen on the basement level.

Pawson starts designing the space by removing all the interior wall and begin from scratch.

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Materials and detail

Pawson used very limited range of colour to complement the straight forward layout of the house.

He believes that material should be seamless in order to achieve the deepest feeling of the inhabitants.

Whiteness plays an important role to produce a space with pure language and absence of visual pollution.

Same material was used for the table top, stairs, bench and baths.

Special features

Most of the furniture were built in and fixed to avoid additional element of the house.

Most of the storage and closet attached to wall, floor to ceiling height to maximize empty space at the center.

Worktop and bench was designed to fix the entire length of the house and lifted using a crane.

Table 8: Summarized information on case study 4 Source: Author (from various sources)

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CHAPTER 5:

FINDING AND DISCUSSION

5.1 Significant element of minimalist architecture To identify the main elements of minimalist architecture, the collected information regarding the case studies where then analysed based on the extracted keywords earlier. Although all studied buildings are considered minimalist, each of them still has their own strength and way of delivering the minimalist concept Assessment on every building thus is very important to identify which element they applied in their building. In line with that, highlighted keyword is then discussed and elaborated to get a justification for the resulting data.

5.1.1

The Thermal Vals, Peter Zumthor

* () symbol marks the emphasized keyword for the project.

Keywords

Emphasization

Simplification of form

Emptiness Seamless

Detailing

Phenomenological

Moral meditation Table 9: Minimalist aspect scored by The Thermal Vals Sources: Author (from various sources)

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For Thermal Vals by Peter Zumthor, simplicity of the building can be seen from the overall shape of the building itself. Rigid rectangular form building, with punctured windows across the frontage was intended to resemble a habitable rock that blend nicely with the sloping landscape. In terms of seamlessness, there is no doubt that it is one of his main intention to maintain the singularity appearance for this building. In particular, 60,000 pieces of identical gneiss stone were used for the entire building, taking the job to finish both interior and exterior of the structure. Detailing aspect for this building meanwhile can be seen when every single piece of the stone were placed one by one in non-repetitive pattern. Additionally, the stone at the corner jointing was cut to different length to enhance the continuous effect of the building. Finally, phenomenological criteria of the building basically lie at the very concept of this spa. Peter Zumthor intended to create a cave like structure with dark circulation inside. Additional to that, internal path was carefully controlled leading to predestined point, as if you were lost inside the cave. Given these point, the end product definitely gives visitors a unique experience unlike any other building.

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5.1.2 Switch House, Herzog and De Meuron * () symbol marks the emphasized keyword for the project.

Keywords

Emphasization

Simplification of form Emptiness Seamless

Detailing

Phenomenological

Moral meditation Table 10: Minimalist aspect scored by Switch House. Sources: Author (from various sources)

The second case study which is Switch House triggered three keywords for its minimalist criteria which are seamless, detailing and phenomenological. Similar to Thermal Vals, the clarity of this building was enriched by using only one type of finishes for the facade. For instance, 336,000 bricks were staggered one to another forming a seamless perforated surface masking the entire museum. The detailing of the building mainly focus on their façade treatment which is very in line with HND trade mark themselves. With a strong aim not to overshadow the old building, they are very detail in term of manipulation of the brickworks in order make it more attractive. The third point which is phenomenological can be seen from the spatial arrangement of the museum. Width of staircase and path of visitor were taken in account to ensure random pattern of movement inside the building. The initial idea is to avoid congestion and allowing more space for the visitors to enjoy the exhibition. 82


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5.1.3 Church of Light, Tdao Ando * () symbol marks the emphasized keyword for the project.

Keywords

Emphasization

Simplification of form

Emptiness

Seamless

Detailing

Phenomenological

Moral meditation

 Table 11: Minimalist aspect scored by Church of Light Sources: Author (from various sources)

Church of Light by Tadao Ando basically marks all the listed criteria for minimalist architecture. The result does make sense as up to now he is known as established modern minimalist architect. In terms of simplification, the church met the criteria by having literally a rectangular boxy building crossed with a single plane at 15 degree from the center. Equally important, emptiness of this building was proved by the very minimal furniture placed inside the building. In this case, the whole space was filled with identical benches without any decorative element on the wall or ceiling. Supporting this argument, there is no partition of divider built within the church creating an elongated open space for the building.

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The third point which is seamless was highlighted by his trademark fair-faced concrete construction. The idea is to allow the exposed to gives the building sober and puristic look. In fact, the exposed concrete has always been a primary choice for Tadao Ando. He strongly believes the honest concrete can manifest a lot of meaning for the building. Most of the detailing was focused on creating a smooth reflecting concrete surface. The concrete element plays an important role to reflect the light smoothly and give serenity effect to certain space. Ando use precisely crafted wooden formwork for his building. He even has his own team for the construction of the concrete in order to maintain quality of his product. Phenomenological aspect for this building was interpreted by Ando by creating a narrow path before entering the chapel. The idea is to let people feel that they are emerging from cramp entry to open space. Great consideration also given to create slits of light that will be reflected within the space. For instance, the crossed wall designed to never really touch the ceiling slab. Additional to that, most of the openings were left exposed without any translucent layer to ensure the quality of transmitted light. Finally, the moral meditation aspect is obviously marked in line with the primary function of the building itself. For this project, he tries to create a church that have a close contact with light, air, rain and other natural element. Ando has always dedicated on making the inhabitant to be more grateful and appreciate the nature. This may also explain why most of his noticeable projects are religious building.

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5.1.4 Pawson House, John Pawson * () symbol marks the emphasized keyword for the project.

Keywords

Emphasization

Simplification of form Emptiness

Seamless

Detailing

Phenomenological

Moral meditation

 Table 12: Minimalist aspect scored by Pawson House Sources: Author (from various sources)

Lastly, Pawson House by John Pawson marks most of the keywords except the simplification of form. One possible reason for that is the typology of the building itself, which is terrace house that located in west London. Emptiness of this house was highlighted by the absence of additional furniture or decorative objects. For this reason, most of the furniture is fixed to wall and cannot be moved. Pawson believes that it can reduce consumerism while maintaining the aesthetic value of the space itself. Another key point which is seamless can be seen from the colour scheme of Pawson House. Wall, ceiling, finishes and fittings of the house was painted white to avoid any contract and to boost continuity within various elements in the house. In this case, the stressed out colour would only be the wooden furniture and brown marble worktop.

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Detailing criteria for this project was proved by Pawson’s commitment to create such a mood within the existing three storey house. He makes a huge adjustment on the interior without changing the façade and original structure. The roof for instance, was carefully design to allow natural lighting for the staircase and the upper bathroom. Phenomenological aspect of this house lay on the overall layout and intention of the architect itself. The minimal furniture and limited range of finishing material intended to create a calm space to achieve a piece of mind to the family. Similar to Ando’s approach, he seems more likely to used light effect to give certain disposition to the space. The only difference is Pawson tend to use the help of artificial lighting to achieve that purpose. Closely related to previous point, the moral meditation aspect has always been closely related to his design principle. For instance, limited range of colour scheme was intended to produce a space with pure language and avoiding any visual distraction. In this sense, Pawson believe that people can achieve calm mind by the absence of any distractive element. After all, the element of calmness and quietness should always be the main purpose when designing this kind of private residential.

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After discussing element of minimalism highlighted in each of the case study, a collective table was tabulated to overview the pattern and scoring line of all the keywords. The idea is to find the most prominent element of minimalist architecture highlighted by all four architects. At the same time, the objective is to find the acceptable terms for both western and Japanese world despite their difference interpretation.

Thermal Baths Keywords Peter

Switch

Church of

House

Light

Herzog

Tadao

John Pawson

Meuron

Simplification of form

House

Ando

& de

Zumthor

Pawson

Emptiness

Seamless

Detailing

Phenomenological

Moral meditation Total

4

3

6

5

Table 13: Scoring line of all four case studies Sources: author (from various sources)

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From the table above, we noticed that each keyword have a different range of score. Firstly, there are three criteria with the highest score namely, seamless, detailing and phenomenological. The remaining three keywords in the meantime were highlighted by only two architects or half of them in general. The scoring pattern was discussed to find rationalization regarding this matter. Seamless means a smooth fabric or surface without seams of obvious joins. In architectural context, seamless may be defined as the building that reject ornamentation and have a very limited element, both inside and outside. For Ando and Pawson it may be related to their strong principle of Zen philosophy and moral freedom. But for Pawson and HnD, the seamless effect maybe achieve from their high appreciation of finishing materials. The selected material is then fully utilized on the interior and exterior of the building. With creative manipulation and precise jointing, the single material gives unique and seamless appearance to the building. Closely related to seamless, detailing was also strongly highlighted by all four architects. Despite the minimal look on the outside, great consideration was given every single detail of their building. This criteria indeed is very important to make sure the message and intention of their design well delivered. Furthermore, with such a strong attention given to this technical aspect, it clearly shows that minimalist architecture is not just a building with simple design but require more precision and effort from architect. Last but not least is phenomenological which means the study of development of human consciousness and self-awareness to certain part of philosophy. In this sense, it may be refer to how people experience the building once they enter. Thus in can be said that most minimalist building is best interpreted once we enter the building ourselves. It is also fair to said that minimal look on the outside is the result when the designer shift their attention to user experience inside rather than user overview from outside of the building.

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As can be seen, moral meditation and emptiness was only highlighted by Ando and Pawson. The first possible reason is because both of them are highly influence by the Japanese Zen philosophy which concerned about connection with the inhabitant. Besides that, it may because of the typology and function of the buildings itself which more focused on individual isolation and privacy. From the tabulated table above, Ando and Pawson scored all the criteria higher compare to Zumthor and HnD. Thus, it is fair to say that Japanese culture and way of life is more closely related to minimalist architecture. Collective score by Peter Zumthor is the third highest and just slightly lower than John Pawson due to his strong principle toward people perception and experience on his building. Finally, HnD score the least as his building has a larger scale and more complex. Furthermore, they are nowadays considered more as modernist architect with new approach whom more concern about aesthetic value and exploration of new materials in their design. Every architect has different set of score, it clearly shows that each of them has their own strength and way of interpreting minimalism into their building. Another noticeable result is that among three selected criteria, seamless is the only element that related to physical appearance. Thus, it shows that building cannot directly be classified as minimalist by their appearance and outer image.

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5.2 Architect’s interpretation on minimalism Based on the reviewed case studies, four main subtopic were selected namely ’concept', ‘form’, ‘space’ and ‘material and detail’ to discuss the projects and make a comparative study. The objective is to find similarities and differences of approach used by these architects in order to find relationship between cultural background and their interpretation.

5.2.1

Concept

Tadao Ando and John Pawson seem to have a share similar objective in their design. Both of them are very committed on creating a space that able to touch people’s feeling. Highly adapted from the Zen philosophy, element of light, material and form play an important role to make sure their design able to touch people’s emotion. Equally important, both their building resemble the same element of emptiness and visual silence that make the building more humble and honest. On the other side, approach used by architect Peter Zumthor and Herzog & de Meuron are slightly different. Zumthor’s strength is his sensitivity toward historical value which then applied into balanced modern structure. He believes that his principle theme should always be physical and not abstract. The abstract value he insists should come later when the physical element is constructed perfectly with full detail. For example, perfect selection of material for him, are able to give the mood and feeling for the inhabitant. Meanwhile, HnD is well known for their material exploration and adjustment to the latest technology available.

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After all, there were also some similarities between them where all these architects were very concerned about material selection for their buildings. They believe that the finishing material would hugely impact the mood and experience of the end user. Thus as discussed earlier, phenomenological aspect and user experience has been their main focus in design. Most of these minimalist architects believe that architecture should always be evaluated by all seven sensory stimulus rather than just visual interpretation.

5.2.2

Form

Minimalist architect like Ando and Pawson is very concern with spatial arrangement and functionality of space. In this case, their building form usually responding directly to the provided space inside or some may call it as ‘form follow function’ style. Same approach was used by Zumthor in his building. All of them are more interested on fundamental aspect of architecture rather than only focusing on aesthetic value of it. The result is boxy shape building with rigid angle that directly responding to activities happen inside. On the contrary, ‘function follow form’ is best to describe the approach of HnD. Despite the singular form, the iconic gesture and strong emphasization on façade treatment usually were given more priority in order to create the visual bombardment for the visitors. However, most of the time their approach is well accepted by the people as it comes with strong justification and background study. Moreover, with help of advanced software and latest technology, they are able to meet both functionality and aesthetic needs in their design.

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One thing in common is the rejection to ornamentation and superfluous design element that making their building looks more singular, massive and solid. In line with modern architecture movement, all four architects clearly made no reference to the previous symbolic and formalistic architecture style that emerged earlier. As a result, some author claims that minimalist architecture is another self-understandable movement that sit inevitability in the circle of styles.

5.2.3

Space

In term of space, Ando and Pawson have a similarity where both of them like to keep the space empty without too many additional elements. The word emptiness itself was mentioned in most of traditional Japanese Philosophy especially ‘Ma Principle’. For instance in Pawson House, he tried to minimize the number of furniture by designing them to be part of the wall, fixed and cannot be transformed. Likewise, Ando highlight the term emptiness by creating simple chapel with pure rectangular box with a clear open space inside. However, the emptiness element did not really triggered in Zumthor and Hnd designs and it is simply because their affection with innovation of material. For Zumthor, he does not design building to create emotion. The idea is to create space based on their use and make it fully useful. For him the emotional value may come after the building completed .In addition, the building typology itself may affect their space arrangement of the building.

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Although all four building have an element of singularity of the outer layer, most of the space arrangements on the interior somehow tell a different story. Circulation and user experience were highly concerned by all four architects. Taking example on the Thermal Bath, every circulation in the building designed to be dark, continuous and predestined to certain point to achieve the cave-like experience. Similar approach also used in Church of Light where the path to enter the main chapel was designed very narrow and cramp into achieve the emerging effect. It clearly shows that despite the minimal look on the exterior, element of functionality and spatial arrangement is highly concerned by the architect for the interior.

5.2.4

Material and detail

Regarding the material, Tadao and Pawson were consistently using a same material for most of their buildings. Thick exposed concrete for Tadao while clean white wall for Pawson. In fact, the same material was applied for both interior and exterior surface. Both of them strongly believe that a light coloured, seamless surface will help to create a visual silence for their building. Despite the exposed, raw look of the concrete wall, Ando was very precise on producing the smooth glass-like surface for the concrete. The formworks were crafted by his special team and finally the concrete were varnished and polished. Given these points, it clearly supports the earlier statement in previous subtopic which stated that finishes and detailing were one of the main strand in minimalist architecture.

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Similarly, consideration for material selection always has been a priority for both Zumthor and HnD. In fact, the uniqueness of physical appearance always be an essence of their buildings. They strongly believe that the suitable material will give a right interpretation for their building. Interesting part is that, the suitable material is selected after they have done a deep research regarding that matter. Both of them have their own team for the material research and development. The idea is to make sure that the material will suit certain mood or theme set by them. In some case, although the selected material is very basic, arrangement and manipulation of element onto the building able to make the outcome more flattering. Taking example on the Switch House, the conventional bricks were reinterpreted in a new radical way to form a unique, perforated façade. After all, material and finishes does become an important element for all the four architects. One distinct difference is that, the intended outcome planned by them. Ando and Pawson tend to promote contemplation effect and the sense of serenity within their buildings. On the other hand, Zumthor and HnD more focused on raising people’s sensation and interpretation towards their building.

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CHAPTER 6:

CONCLUSION

Japanese minimalist architecture promotes more toward a moral meditation and serenity. It is fair to say that their minimalist approach is more abstract and does not effects people directly. Highly adapted from their traditional ideology, this conceptualization is highly suitable for religious building and private residential. Regardless of the ever developing architecture style in Japan, some traditional traits is still maintained, hence supporting the argument that minimalism in Japan is more towards a way of life rather than an architectural style. However, Western minimalism is more focus on the technical aspect and physical value. Advancement in technology may greatly help their exploration of new materials and method of construction. This high appreciation towards physical appearance intended to create sensational effect which most of the time will become the essence of their buildings. Besides, mass visual culture in western society also accounted for the building to be more attractive and eye catching. Given these points, it is noticeable that architecture style is directly influenced by the culture background. Approach of architect and their intention may be altered by the cultural tradition and their trend of demand. Equally important, connection with the different culture generally will raise a preconception and reconstruct the precept of the architect himself. The study of cultural background thus is crucial to ensure the suitability of certain style with the culture.

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In reality, architect from different origin however still share some similarities and their approach is acceptable by the outsiders. Despite having a different intention or philosophical basis, these architects somehow did came out with similar building style which then lead them to be labelled as a minimalist. This might also be supported by the fact that modern society nowadays seek to choose more simple and practical approach to suit with their contemporary lifestyle. In that case, we can see that Japanese minimalist architects were still commissioned to design various building in Europe or any other region. The scenario thus strengthened some theory claiming that minimalism is selfunderstandable architecture that made no reference to the previous architectural languages. In a long run, minimalist building should not only be evaluated based on their minimal appearance. The value added to the building such as materiality, detailing and the end user experience are equally important. These values are very fundamental in architectural practice and able to make the style more universal and timeless. Further study hence should be made on how minimalist building may affect people’s feeling or emotion. While minimalist style is considered more abstract and thoughtful, phenomenological research might be the best method to understood people’s perceptions, perspectives and understandings of a particular space. In fact, this kind of research is vital to get the feedback from the inhabitant especially for the newly completed project in a way of post occupancy evaluation.

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CHAPTER 7:

REFERENCES

7.1 Articles Auer, G. (1988). Vom Nutzen des Nichts: Minimalistische Formen und Formein in der Architektur, Daidalos. Carmagnola, F., et al. (1996). Minimalismo: etica delle forme e nuova semplicitĂ nel design, Lupetti & Company. Glancey, J. and R. Bryant (1990). The new moderns, Beazley. Goodman., H. F. M. a. D. (2011). An Introduction to Architectural Theory: 1968 to the Present. Ibelings, H. (1998). Supermodernism: Architecture in the age of globalization, Nai Uitgevers Pub. Jencks, C. (2002). The new paradigm in architecture: the language of post-modernism, Yale University Press. Lancaster, C. (1953). "Japanese Buildings in the United States before 1900: Their Influence upon American Domestic Architecture." The Art Bulletin 35(3): 217-224. Macarthur, J. (2002). "The look of the object: Minimalism in art and architecture, then and now." Architectural Theory Review 7(1): 137-148. Melhuish, C. (1994). "On Minimalism in Architecture." Architectural Design(110): 8-13. Pallasmaa, J. (1994). "An architecture of the seven senses." ARCHITECTURE AND URBANISM-TOKYO-: 27-38. 97


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Pawson, J. (2011). "The Voice of Matter (2006-2011)." El Croquis(158). Pawson, J. and P. Doze (1996). Minimum, Phaidon. Stevanovic, V. (2011). "Cultural based preconceptions in aesthetic experience of architecture." Spatium(26): 20-25. Stevanovic, V. (2013). "A Reading of Interpretative Models of Minimalism in Architecture." Metu Journal of the Faculty of Architecture 30(02). Steven, H. (1989). Anchoring: Steven Holl, Selected Projects 1975-1988, Princeton Architectural Press, New York. Sudjic, D. and J. Pawson (2000). John Pawson: Works, Phaidon Press. Tong, Z. (2011). "Analysis on Minimalism Architecture from the Perspective of Image Society." Toy, M. (1994). ASPECTS OF MINIMAL ARCHITECTURE-INTRODUCTION, VCH PUBLISHERS INC 303 NW 12TH AVE, DEERFIELD BEACH, FL 33442-1788. Verhetsel, T., et al. (2013). "Emptiness as potential. Different conceptions of the sober interior." Architectoni. ca 2(1): 30-41. Vice, P. (1994). "Minimalism and the Art of Visual Noise." Architectural Design(110): 14-17. Ypma, H. J. (1996). London minimum, Stewart, Tabori, & Chang. Zabalbeascoa, A. and R. J. Marcos (1998). "Architect and Spirit—Tadao Ando." Barcelona, Gustavo Gili, SA. Zumthor, P., et al. (2006). Thinking architecture, Birkhäuser. 98


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7.2

Books

Goodman., H. F. M. a. D. (2011). An Introduction to Architectural Theory: 1968 to the Present. Pawson, J. (2011). The Voice of Matter (2006-2011). El Croquis(158). Brooker, G. (2013). Key interiors since 1900: Laurence King.

7.3 Websites Modernism101.com,(2012).36 Rassegna Minimal (online) Available at: http://modernism101.com/ [Accessed 13 July 2016] Archdaily.com,(2010).AD Classics: Villa Savoye /Le Corbusier (online) Available at: http://www.archdaily.com/ [Accessed 13 July 2016] Walkerart.org,(2005). Donald Judd, Walker Art Center Collection (online) Available at: http://www.walkerart.org/ [Accessed 5 December 2016] Walkerart.org,(2012). Amaryllis and the 100th Anniversary of Tony Smith’s birthday (online) Available at: http://www.walkerart.org/ [Accessed 6 December 2016] Schwingeninswitzerland.wordpress.com,(2012). Reims Cathedral, It’s History Has More Drama Than A Telenovela. (online) Available at: https://schwingeninswitzerland.wordpress.com/ [Accessed 7 September 2016] Stephendanko.com, (2007). The Vilnius Cathedral (online) Available at: http://stephendanko.com/ [Accessed 7 September 2016] Mimoa.eu,(2009). Kunstaus Bregenz, Peter Zumthor (online) Available at: https://www.mimoa.eu [Accessed 5 December 2016] Ronenbekerman.com,(2011). Church of Light, Tadao Ando (online) Available at: http://www.ronenbekerman.com/ [Accessed 12 July 2016] Ideasgn.com/2005). New Museum / SANAA (online) Available http://ideasgn.com/ [Accessed 26 November 2016] 99


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Illinois.edu,(2009). Japanese architectural trends reflect unique realities, scholar says. (online) Available at: https://news.illinois.edu/ [Accessed 25 November 2016] Amagazine.com, (2015). Austerity And Sensuality – Therme Vals (online) Available at: http://amagazine.com.au/ [Accessed 5September 2016] Architravel.com,(2011). Peter Zumthor (online) Available at http://www.architravel.com/ [Accessed 5 September 2016] Wikiarquitectura.com,(2014). Thermal Vals (online) Available at: https://en.wikiarquitectura.com/ [Accessed 5 Semptember 2016] Thethermevals.blogspot, (2015). Therme Vals (online) Available at: http://thethermevals.blogspot.my/ [Accessed 6 September 2016] Einnemee.wordpress.com, (2014). Therme Vals, Peter Zumthor (online) Available at: https://einnemee.wordpress.com/ [Accessed 11 July 2016] Arcspace.com/,(2014). Vals Thermal Baths (online) Available at: http://www.arcspace.com// [Accessed 11 July 2016] Iitcoa3rdyr.wordpress,Illinois Institute of Technology (2008). Experience Thermal Vals (online) Available at: https://iitcoa3rdyr.wordpress.com/ [Accessed 13 July 2016] Archdaily.com (2016). Tate Modern Switch House / Herzog & de Meuron (online) Available at: http://www.archdaily.com/ [Accessed 5 December 2016] Arcspace.com, (2016). Herzog & De Meuron (online) Available at: http://www.arcspace.com// [Accessed 9 September] Inexhibit.com (2008). The New Tate modern in London (online) Available at: https://www.inexhibit.com [Accessed 5 December 2016] Tate.org (2008). Tate modern (online) Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/ [Accessed 28 Novemver 2016]

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Dezeen.com (2016). Tate Modern releases first images of Herzog & de Meuron’s Switch House extension. (online) Available at: https://www.inexhibit.com [Accessed 29 Novemver 2016] Miragestudio7.com (2016). Tadao Ando (online) Available at: https://blog.miragestudio7.com [Accessed 30 Novemver 2016] Openbuildings.com (2008). Church of Light, Tadao Ando (online) Available at: http://openbuildings.com/ [Accessed 30 Novemver 2016] Arch-mess-of-me.blogspot (2006). Church of The Light (online) Available at: http://arch-mess-of-me.blogspot.my/ [Accessed 29 Novemver 2016] Public.iastate.edu, (2014) Rongchuan Zhang student’s portfolio (online) Available at: http://www.public.iastate.edu/ [Accessed 30 Novemver 2016] Trover.com, (2015). Church of Light, Ibaraki (online) Available at: http://www.trover.com/ [Accessed 1 December 2016] Someslashthings.com, (2014). Church of Light, Osaka Japan (online) Available at http://www.someslashthings.com/ [Accessed 1 December 2016] Milajansa.com,(1999). Pawson House (online) Available at: http://milajansa.com/ [Accessed 2 December 2016] Interiordesign.net, (2014). John Pawson: 2003 Hall of Fame Inductee (online) Available at: http://www.interiordesign.net/ [Accessed 2 December 2016] Tankonyvtar.hu, (2013). Family House (online) Available at: http://www.tankonyvtar.hu/ [Accessed 5 December 2016] Johnpawson.com (2010). Pawson House (online) Available at: http://www.johnpawson.com/ [Accessed 7 December 2016]

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Interpretation of minimalist architecture according to various cultures  

Presently, where everything is done by the function, some features or style of earlier architecture is no longer relevant and appropriate. A...

Interpretation of minimalist architecture according to various cultures  

Presently, where everything is done by the function, some features or style of earlier architecture is no longer relevant and appropriate. A...

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